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Auchter's Art: A problem at the core of the core

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

The upcoming lame duck session of the Michigan legislature presents a rare opportunity for real bipartisanship. The re-elected Governor Whitmer and the outgoing Republican legislative leadership have hinted around at some possibilities. Two items of note — the desperate need to shore up Michigan's mental health treatment capabilities and various tax cuts.

It is, of course, possible to move on both. Not probable, though. It is easy to blame those gal-durn politicians for this. But let's face it, we, the citizens of Michigan, have to own it, too. Because there is only so much money. And when it gets down to likely having to choose, we will almost certainly opt for the one that is easier to understand.

Tax cuts mean money coming back to us. (This is not always true, but in concept that's what happens.)

Reimagining and shoring up our mental health care system is much more abstract. What do you mean by mental health care? What does it look like? Who are the trained professionals? How can we ensure access? Do you have to be already sick to qualify? What if they don't look sick to me? How much will it cost? And so on. Worse, this isn't just a Michigan problem to solve — it's a national one.

In any case, there does seem to be a consensus that mental illness is a core problem to our country's ongoing epidemic of mass shootings. The easy accessibility of military murder machines certainly augments the danger, but it is obviously an unstable mind that commits such atrocities. The question is: What are we willing to do about it? So far, not nearly enough.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.